How to Make a Patent

“How to make a patent?” is a question many inventors ask themselves. There are several ways you may obtain a patent. Patents are protections for someone’s intellectual property.

Getting a Patent on Your Own

Getting a patent on your own can save a lot of money, maybe hundreds or even thousands on attorney’s fees. There is a long history of inventors successfully navigating the U.S. patent system on their own. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is required by federal law to assist inventors who apply for patents without an attorney. Applying for a patent isn’t a legal skill. It can be learned just like any other skill such as cooking, carpentry, or car repair. Obviously, it’s not easy (although some steps are quite easy to learn).

Applying for a patent is an involved and long process. Knowing how to handle a patent application is just a matter of patience and disciplined study of the process. You can successfully acquire a patent if you are willing to take the process one step at a time.

Filing a Patent With an Attorney

Patent attorneys must pass an additional bar exam. This means that they have been tested on their knowledge about patents and the steps to acquiring a patent. Obviously, these professionals are quite good at navigating the process of acquiring a patent. There are cost savings, because trained patent attorneys can help you avoid making mistakes that could be expensive later. An experienced attorney can make the application process much simpler for the inventor.

Filing a Patent Application

Following the rules set by the USPTO can be compared to following instructions when making a new recipe out of a cookbook. Patent attorneys are like master chefs, they meet the criteria to be admitted to the patent bar. This means these attorneys have passed the patent bar exam and completed an undergraduate degree in a related field (science or engineering, for example) and obtained a law degree.  If you visit a patent clinic at a law school you will be able to ask questions relating to patent law. Doing so is also a benefit to the law students, who gain valuable experience in the process.

The government in the United States provides help to inventors as a way to help both individuals and innovation. The USPTO’s Pro Se Assistance program is designed to help inventors get their patents filed. This program will even assemble all the documents required to file for a patent.

If you do a simple search online you will find numerous sites offering patent assistance for a fee. If you aren’t careful, they will take your money and leave you with nothing to show for it. Disturbingly, some scams will also steal your invention idea. Be very careful when using a service that doesn’t include someone admitted to the patent bar.

The three types of patents are:

  • utility patent
  • plant patent
  • design patent

You will need to determine which type of patent you will need so that you can be as efficient as possible with your patent application. Your strategy for filing your application depends on whether you need protection immediately for the invention or whether you are ready to make a more formal patent claim.

A specification will need to be prepared. It should include the following:

  • an abstract
  • a background
  • a summary
  • a detailed description
  • and a conclusion (which would include scope and ramifications)

Another step is determining the legal scope of your invention. Hiring an experienced patent attorney is a good idea, unless you are 100 percent certain that you have the experience and skills to handle this task. After you have completed and reviewed your application, check it for unnecessary mistakes for which it may be rejected.

The processing of a patent application takes between 1 and 3 years. A patent application can be filed by fax or mail, or you can go to the USPTO website and file it online. The USPTO’s website also includes the most up-to-date filing resources and information on what is expected of an application.

If you need help with filing your patent, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law School and Yale Law School and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.